Showing posts with label Callipepla californica. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Callipepla californica. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Female California Quail, Point Reyes National Seashore

Female quail in Point Reyes - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

In wildlife photography, it's so easy to get caught up looking for just the biggest, flashiest male to photograph. Unfortunately, this often means that the females don't get the attention they deserve, unless they have babies in tow. That's a shame though, since females of many species are just as lovely as their male counterparts. While male California quail are definitely showier, the females are quite beautiful, and share many of the same plumage patterns. Unfortunately, the females tend to be much more secretive, and I have rarely seen them out in the open for extended periods of time. This female, however, hopped up on a fence post and stood there for a minute or two in late afternoon light before returning to her more secretive ways in the tall grass at Pierce Point Ranch in Point Reyes National Seashore. I was quite happy to have this fleeting chance to take some photographs of a female quail out in the open.

Female California quail - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

You can view more images of quail in my Quail Gallery.

Submitted to World Bird Wednesday -- follow the link to see this weeks bird-related posts!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

California quail in late light, Point Reyes National Seashore

Male California quail - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

This is the same handsome male quail that I posted some shots of last week as he posed in front of some rattlesnake grass lit by the late afternoon light. For those shots, he strolled along the bottom rail of a fence. As I sat there watching and photographing him, I took note of this fence post, which was in the direct light and had a nice background of a grassy hillside behind. I silently urged him to go up there, and after about 10 minutes or so he actually did.

California quail in late light - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

He surveyed the scene from the top of the post for a few minutes before his lady-friend decided that it was time to move on. As soon as she started wandering away, he hopped down and followed her up the hillside.

Male quail - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

View more images of one of my favorite birds in my Quail Gallery.

Submitted to World Bird Wednesday -- follow the link to view this week's posts!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Quail and rattlesnake grass, Point Reyes National Seashore

When I was out in Point Reyes National Seashore last weekend, I wasn't seeing very much as I drove through the park. I started out by heading towards the outer peninsula, and I stopped by Drake's Beach, South Beach, and the Estero Trailhead while seeing very little. So I decided to take a drive up to Tomales Point, since I wanted to end up along the Abbott's Lagoon trail for sunset. After reaching Pierce Point Ranch without seeing a single quail or elk, I stopped at the McClure's Beach to eat my PB&J for dinner. As I sat there, I enjoyed my sandwich and was listening to the Giants pregame on KNBR. After I finished my meal and was going to stop at the restroom before leaving, I noticed this handsome quail sitting right in front of the car on a fence railing. Perhaps he was drawn to the melodic cadence of Jon Miller's voice on the radio?

Quail and rattlesnake grass - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

Such a pleasant surprise to show up after I had resigned to a non-photographic outing for the evening. I spent the next 15 minutes shooting this quail first out of my open window, then with the door open (to get slightly closer), then from my tripod set up next to my car door.

Quail against the grass - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

I moved slowly between positions, and while I think he knew I was there, he was fairly indifferent. He was however, quite interested in his lady-friend, who spent most of the time in the tall grass behind the fence. Every now and then though he would get noticeably excited (quick, agitated movements, fluffed feathers) and then she would appear out in the open. Eventually, she had enough of the area and wandered off up the hill -- and he was quick to follow!

Quail along the fence at sunset - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

I was excited to be surprised by this handsome quail set against those lovely grasses backlit by the setting sun in the background. For those of you that are curious, the pods are rattlesnake grass (easy to see where it gets its name, no?), which is an invasive species in California.

Quail in the rattlesnake grass - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

More images from this area of the park in my Tomales Point Gallery.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Quail on gnarled branches, Point Reyes National Seashore

Quail on gnarled branches - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

While driving on Pierce Point Road through the northern end of Point Reyes National Seashore, I can't drive by the Abbott's Lagoon parking lot without taking a swing through to look for quail. There always seem to be some around, and even though I was planning to start my day looking for elk near the Pierce Point Ranch on my most recent trip, I swung through the lot to have a peek as I passed.

Much to my delight, there was a large male sitting on a fence right in the parking lot. Unfortunately, by the time I got my camera and tripod out of the car, he had wandered into the bushes with his female, but it didn't take long to locate others. In fact, this was the highest density of quail I've ever seen in the park. They seemed to be everywhere along the trail to Abbott's Lagoon, with couples wandering through the pastures and males occupying high vantage points all throughout the coastal scrub. Some chose nice clean fenceposts, and others selected luxurious green bushes, but this particular quail selected the old gnarled branches of an coyote bush long past its prime.

Quail amidst the branches - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

View more in my Quail Gallery.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

California quail, Point Reyes National Seashore

California quail - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

California quail are one of my favorite birds to photograph (if you couldn't tell from my blog banner and gallery page icon), and I often take trips this time of year specifically looking for quail opportunities. I was rewarded greatly on my most recent trip to Point Reyes National Seashore with a real abundance of quail throughout the park. The once exception was where I most reliably find them, and that's near the Tomales Point Trailhead at Pierce Point Ranch. Surprisingly, I didn't see a single quail in that area -- although I was nearly attacked by a gopher as I walked around looking for them. (True story! I wouldn't have even noticed it except that it was grunting at me in an aggressive fashion and faking charges at my shoe. After my initial shock wore off I tried to get a quick shot of this behavior, but unfortunately, it scampered off into the grass by the time I was able to get my lens on it.)

Perched on a fencepost - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

In addition to a lot of quail on nice perches, I was treated to some great overcast light throughout the day due to the very late season rain we had this past weekend. These three shots are of a bird I found along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, in the area of the Bull Point Trailhead. I came across three males perched together, each with an empty pole between the closest rival, and each bird gave me an opportunity for a slightly different backdrop.

Male California quail - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

View more images of our delightful state bird in my Quail Gallery

Submitted to World Bird Wednesday Blog Meme -- follow the link to check out this week's posts!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Quail on a diagonal fencepost, Point Reyes National Seashore

Quail on a diagonal post - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

A male California quail posing on a fencepost along Sir Francis Drake Blvd in Point Reyes National Seashore. This was the only quail we saw on our drive along the length of the road that day. Around this time of year there are usually a bunch hanging out along the fences, but at least this one stayed on the post for a while to let me get a few different compositions.

Quail on a post

Visit my Quail Gallery.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Quail on a quiet morning, Point Reyes National Seashore

Quiet morning quail - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

While flipping through my archives in the past few days, I saw this shot that I had originally overlooked as I edited images from this trip last January. I was much more excited about these closer poses at the time. But something about this shot pulled me in today, and while there isn't too much eye-candy in it, it still gives me the quiet feeling of that morning as I watched this quail on a fencepost.

See more images of these lovely birds in my Quail Gallery.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Evening quail, Point Reyes National Seashore

Quail glance - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

Here is a series of images of our state bird, the California quail, taken at the Tomales Point Trailhead in Point Reyes National Seashore. As I mentioned in a previous post, the sun was just dropping below the horizon as I walked back to the parking lot and found this group of quail. Since the light was mostly gone, I upped the ISO to 1600, locked in the ballhead, and hoped for the best.

Ruffled California quail - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

I was quite pleased to have a few images come out pretty sharp under these conditions, especially with that nice warm evening light. It was great to hear him call as well, a sound I haven't heard since last summer. Unfortunately, the conditions just weren't great for a sharp shot of a bird in motion as it vocalized, so I was left with left with a bunch of disappointing images that lacked enough sharpness for my taste. Maybe next time!

Quail song - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

More images of these beautifully marked birds are available in my Quail Gallery.

This post submitted to World Bird Wednesday -- follow the link to check out the great posts for this week!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Quail after sunset, Point Reyes National Seashore

Quail after sunset

I just love to watch and photograph California quail. Other than shorebirds, they are quite possibly my favorite subjects. The arrival of spring means that they become a bit less secretive, as the males like to perch on tall objects and call out to let the ladies know they are there. It's wonderful to be serenaded by their song as you walk through the coastal scrub. After taking a late afternoon hike out the Tomales Point Trail to find some elk with velvet antlers, I arrived back at the trailhead right as the sun was dropping below the horizon. Much to my delight, I was greeted by a group of around a dozen quail strolling along the far side of the parking lot. It was getting fairly dark already, so I upped the ISO to 1600 and hoped that the birds would stand fairly still. Thankfully, this male obliged as he stood on a lichen-covered fence post.

See more of the state bird of California in my Quail Gallery.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Quail on a Fence Post, Point Reyes National Seashore

Here's a quick break from the steady stream of elephant seals I've been posting lately. This is a handsome California quail perched on a fence post along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in Point Reyes National Seashore.

Coy California quail -- Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

I find these birds to be so strikingly beautiful, with an amazing array of patterns on their body. They're quite common to find along the main road, and I took these shots out of an open car window. I have had success getting out of the car without spooking quail before, but I decided not to try my luck this time. I might have preferred a better backdrop than just the overcast sky, but at least it doesn't distract the eye from the details of their plumage.

Quail standing tall -- Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

Monday, December 13, 2010

Quail in the rain

Quail in the rain

A male California quail watching over his family group near the Bear Valley Visitor's Center in Point Reyes National Seashore. This is a fun time of year to see quail (although they weren't too keen to see me), since the family groups are really quite large. I would guess there were at least 25 birds in this flock that was scouring the grounds near the visitor's center parking lot. As soon as they saw me from across the road though, they disappeared into the shrubs. It was pretty amazing how easily they faded into the landscape that was just in front of me. This lone male was watching over the proceedings from a high perch (a fence post in this case), which I have often seen them do. Perhaps it is a trait of nobility evident in our state bird.

As for the shot, the conditions were clearly not ideal for photography, with heavily overcast skies and even some drizzle. I was happy to get at least this sharp frame out of the bunch though, since I'm a big fan of birds sitting on cool old fenceposts. I also love having some of the drizzle visible in the frame, although my camera may beg to differ. It's interesting to see how far a tiny raindrop can fall in 1/125 of a second!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Show me your best side -- California Quail edition

Three different compositions of the same bird in this post, a male California quail along the trail in Tennessee Valley. This is the same bird that I posted a vertical composition of previously, who quite generously gave me a few minutes on top of his bush before realizing that only a lousy photographer was paying attention to him, and he probably should pick a different bush to woo the ladies from.

This frame is perhaps "Quail Classic" with nice posture and that standing tall kind of attitude, surely a stunning find for a female.
Photograph of a prim and proper California quail in Marin County

But this shot I think is my favorite of the bunch -- a quail with attitude! You can almost see him giving me a Z-snap and making a snarky comeback.
Photograph of a California quail with attitude

And lastly perhaps his right side is his better side, which he kindly gave to me while working the camera as well.
Photograph of a California quail in Tennessee Valley, GGNRA

On a more serious note, a Flickr member commented on my previous post of this guy about how was I able to get such clean bokeh while shooting at only f/8. The secret to this shot is that this is on a portion of the trail that cuts along an elevated portion of the hillside in Tennessee Valley. The background is actually a separate hillside across the valley, which is probably a few hundred yards off.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Quail on the lookout

Tall and proud

The California quail, state bird of its namesake, is really quite beautiful with its varied plumage patterns. During much of the year it can be challenging to capture these birds out in the open. However, early in the breeding season (this shot is from mid-May) the males are much more willing to make a spectacle of themselves while hoping to draw the attention of a female. Unfortunately for this one who set up his lookout post along the trail, there was only a nosy photographer around.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Male Quail at Tomales Point

After a few weeks of traveling for a conference, a holiday in Europe, and visiting family, I'm back to the grind back at work and finally taking a few minutes to post a new image, with the goal of getting back to the regular pace of an image around every other day or so. In addition, I've increased the size of the blog page, since Flickr is now using a larger medium image size, and I like the increased detail of the 640 pixel image.

Quail at Tomales Point

This is a male California quail being as conspicuous as possible while trying to attract a mate (and perhaps a friendly photographer?). I took this shot on a weekend in May in which I was inundated in quail photography opportunities. This was actually among my goals for the trips I made to Point Reyes and Tennessee Valley, and I loved the many chances to photograph our striking state bird. This male is sitting on an old log near the Tomales Point Trailhead in Point Reyes National Seashore.